Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, urged her colleagues under the age of 65 to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday until front-line workers and vulnerable populations are adequately immunized.
“As members of Congress, if you are healthy, if you are under the age of 65, join me in refusing to get the vaccine at least until the seniors and elderly Americans are able to do so,” Gabbard said on “The Story.”
Gabbard joins a bipartisan group of lawmakers who plan to delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine — which became available to congressional leaders last week — until all health care workers and seniors over the age of 65 have had a chance to receive it.
Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and incoming Rep.-elect Nancy Mace, R-S.C., have all indicated that they find it inappropriate to receive the inoculation before those at greater risk of contracting the virus.
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“I think of people like my aunt, she is 65 years old,” Gabbard told host Martha MacCallum. “She has a severe underlying health condition that compromised her immune system. She has basically been imprisoned in her home because she knows if she goes out, she faces a very real danger of dying if she catches COVID.
“It is people like my aunt, it is the elderly [and] the most vulnerable who should be getting this vaccine first right alongside our first responders and high-risk health care workers, because this is really a matter of life and death for them,” she said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who is one of the youngest members of Congress at age 31, shared a video of herself receiving the vaccine and explaining the procedure to her constituents. The video drew backlash from fellow Squad member Omar, however, who said getting the treatment before other essential workers would be “shameful.”
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The attending physician of the U.S. Congress, Brian Patrick Monahan, administered the vaccine to several lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last week.
Gabbard also made headlines this week for being one of two House Democrats to vote against the $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package.
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“This bill was a slap in the face to American people,” Gabbard said. “People [are] sitting in their cars waiting in lines for hours to get free food from the food bank. People [have been] without jobs for months. People who are concerned about getting evicted from their apartment or homes because they haven’t been able to pay their rent.
“To say that it is okay to give hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate special interests, to foreign countries, to the military-industrial complex, but to the American people who are struggling and suffering and need help the most, you get $600? It is an absolute insult,” she asserted, “and Americans deserve better.”